What's at Stake in Nigeria's Elections

Nigerians will head to the polls three times in the next three weeks to vote for a new president, parliament officials, and state governors.  The intense preparation by the Independent National Electoral Commission and its new, well-respected chairman have generated public optimism and expectations for a free and fair election.

However, despite the new leadership, peaceful and credible elections are hardly guaranteed.  Nigerians are still bruised from the previous three elections, which were corrupt.  People are ready for change but much is at risk if things go poorly yet again.

Based in Abuja, Udo Jude Ilo, a consultant for the Open Society Foundations, discusses above what's at stake for Nigeria and why these elections are so important to Nigeria’s future.

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I did monitor yesterday's Parliamentary elections in Lagos State. To a reasonable extent, the elections were free,fair and peaceful in the areas that I covered

The voters will probably shrug-off the the violent attempts and head towards achieving democracy. The Nigerian government is doing its best to assure everything goes smoothly. Sometimes, however, it is the aftermath that starts the real violence in these situations.

I think an important part of the people's achievement of democracy is having the mindset to accept the results of the elections made by them.

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